Juan Cayro Delgado takes 36-hole lead at Latin America Amateur in home country

Enrique Berardi/LAAC

Juan Cayro Delgado takes 36-hole lead at Latin America Amateur in home country

Amateur

Juan Cayro Delgado takes 36-hole lead at Latin America Amateur in home country

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Juan Cayro Delgado is living the dream halfway to a potential major.

A second-round 4-under 68 thrust Delgado into a one-shot lead at 7 under through 36 holes at the Latin America Amateur Championship. He moved in front at a tournament being played at the Teeth of the Dog in the Dominican Republic – his home country.

In fact, he’s not the only Dominican in contention, as Enrique Valverde is T-6 at 3 under.

Still, Delgado is in prime position for some big opportunities if he can finish the week on top at home.

To wit: The winner of this tournament earns a spot into the 2019 Masters. And there are other perks as well: Full exemptions into the U.S. Amateur, British Amateur and any other USGA amateur championship for which he is eligible. The winner and the runner(s)-up will also be exempt into the final stages of qualifying for the U.S. Open and British Open.

Delgado has himself in position for all this thanks to steady play over the two days. He made five birdies against two bogeys on Day 1 and followed up with five more birdies on Friday. This time he posted just a single bogey.

A win for Delgado certainly wasn’t the prevailing sentiment coming into the tournament. This is the 17-year-old’s debut in the event and he clocks in at No. 1455 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

He’ll have to hold off plenty of competition over the final two days.

First-round leader Alvaro Ortiz fired a solid 72 to only drop to T-2 at 6 under. He has finished runner-up at this event each of the last two years. Luis Fernando Barco is also at 6 under.

Luis Gagne and Jorge Garcia are among those T-8 at 2 under. So is University of Arkansas freshman standout Julian Perico after a second-round 65.

Toto Gana, the 2017 champion, is tied for 14th at 1 under. The 2016 winner Paul Chaplet barely passed through the 36-hole cut. Only those 5 over or better continued on, and Chaplet sits T-43 at 4 over.

Matias Dominguez, who won this event in 2015, was among those to miss the cut after going 74-84.

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